Marketing Music: Nirvana’s sales spike in wake of tragedy

Posted on Apr 15 2014 - 7:40am by Guest Writer

By Jillian Stanphill, Business Writer

In the wake of the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, sales of Nirvana’s music and merchandise are dominating the music industry.

The music industry is one of the largest and fastest expanding industries in the world. Massive record labels dominate sales, but small record companies can succeed as well.

A lot of business goes on behind the recording studio including cover art and lyrics. The music business is continually expanding, but even with new artists and genres emerging, the classics that we love stay with us, and Nirvana has proven that it has staying power for decades to come.

Nirvana is as successful today as it was when it was formed in 1987.

With an income of $4.4 million in 2013, the iconic status of  Cobain and Nirvana are still thriving.

Cobain’s estate alone is worth an estimated $450 million, according to CNBC Business News.

In many ways, business fuels the music industry through market research, client development and advertising. Marketing reigns supreme in everything from the genre label, lyrical changes and album art to the outfits the artist wears to interviews, which are specifically designed for a target audience.

Nostalgia is a great marketing technique, especially with music. Parents grew up listening to certain bands, and by implementing those bands into things focused toward their children, marketers can remind old fans of the music they love while creating a new generation fans.

For example, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was used in “The Muppets” movie with permission from members of the band.

As technology changes, it only helps music sales skyrocket.
Maybe you still have that CD in a box with college junk, but if not, pull out a smartphone and download all the Nirvana hits you love with iTunes or stream videos through YouTube and reminisce.

The 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death was Saturday. He was not only an idol of early grunge rock fans but an icon of Seattle.

Growing up in Aberdeen, Wash., Cobain was constantly influenced by the culture of the Pacific Northwest and the diverse music scene of Seattle.

He formed Nirvana in the late 1980s with the original bandmates, Krist Novoselic and Aaron Burckhard. Dave Grohl replaced Burckhard’s a few years later.

Publicity doesn’t just have to be about the music.

Any Nirvana memorabilia, apparel or even something as morbid as crime scene photos can promote the band.

The Seattle Police Department has been releasing never before publicly available photographs of the scene of Cobain’s death in anticipation of the 20th anniversary.

The 2014 Hall of Fame induction ceremony for rock and roll will air May 31 on HBO. Any Nirvana performance is still a tightly guarded secret, but according to the music site Loudwire.com, the remaining band members might perform.